INSPIRED IMPACT is an ongoing blog series that gives voice to mission-driven organizations and passionate leaders and entrepreneurs who are making an impact in their communities and industries.
Maria Zubia is the Director of Community Outreach for Kids First Health Care. Learn more at KidsFirstHealthCare.org.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
Kids First Health Care is a nonprofit organization that provides high quality and affordable health care to children and teens in partnership with schools. Our school-based health centers are like having a doctors office in the schools. We have five school-based health clinics and two clinics for any child birth to age 21 based in the community. We have no zip code boundaries and accept most health insurances. If a child doesn’t have health insurance, we assist the family in applying for Medicaid/CHP+ and if they aren’t eligible, we will provide them our sliding fee.
WHY DO YOU DO IT?
Kids First Health Care is committed to improving the health and well-being of infants, children, and youth by providing primary and preventative health services in partnership with schools and other community organizations.
WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU MAKING?
By eliminating typical barriers like cost and transportation the students who attend our school-based health centers (SBHC) are able to get quality healthcare services on their own when they need it. The students don’t lose as much class time, and the parents don’t have to lose time from work in order to take their children to the doctor.
We also have four youth advisory boards at two high schools and two middle schools. Our youth advisory board is called VOIHCE (Voicing Our Imperative Health Concerns Every Day) and we have been doing youth engagement since 2008.
WHAT (OR WHO) INSPIRES YOU TO MAKE THIS IMPACT?
For me personally it is all about meeting a basic human need. I was raised to help others in any way I can and to share my time and talent for the betterment of others. I have been a true promoter/community navigator since I was six-years-old when I learned English. I soon became the interpreter and translator not only for my family but for others needing help. Also, as a parent of three children I can relate to the challenges of being a working parent and working to be self-sustaining in a difficult economy.
WHAT’S YOUR BIG DREAM FOR THE ORGANIZATION AND THE IMPACT YOU WANT TO MAKE?
My dream would be that Kids First health Care would have unlimited and unrestricted funding in order to expand our services to more schools as the need for health care for children and teens is always a need. The impact would be long lasting not only for the students and their families, but also for their communities.
WHAT RESOURCES DO YOU NEED TO MAKE THOSE DREAMS COME TRUE?
The same resources most non-profits could use more of…unrestricted dollars, space and time.
WHAT IS (OR HAS BEEN) YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
The biggest challenge is getting enough funding from year to year. As well as space at some of our sites. As the needs of the families we serve continues to grow, it seems the available resources are becoming less.
WHAT WORDS OF ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER LEADERS LOOKING TO MAKE AN IMPACT?
Keep your mission at the forefront of everything you do and stay real to it. In other words, commit to being mission driven.
HOW CAN OTHERS SUPPORT YOU OR YOUR CAUSE?
Donations and collaboration.
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